Promoting Professional Development and Best Practice in EE
Roles at NAAEE:CEE-Change Fellow
St. Croix Environmental Association
Olivia Walton (she/her), brings her mission as an educator to this fellowship: "to foster a passion for celebrating and protecting the natural world through interdisciplinary, exploratory, and inspirational opportunities for kids of all ages and backgrounds; particularly the most underrepresented and at-risk members of our global community." Olivia’s experiences of creating equitable and engaging environmental education (EE) content and connecting with communities in a culturally respectful and relevant way will be integral for a project prioritizing both civics and environmental education.
In her time outside of work, Olivia loves cooking—mostly Italian food because she’s half Italian—and enjoys reading Tarot Cards. If Olivia could travel to any place in the world, she’d travel to Caño Cristales, nature's rainbow river!
Sustainable Food for Freedom City
This community action project is a community-driven effort to bring interpretive signage to the area surrounding a local fish market, encouraging environmental stewardship and sustainable fishing practices by encouraging creative and collaborative use of the market space, and installing locally designed, culturally relevant, and engaging signs/murals describing "Reef Responsible" fishing practices. Local artists, community members, fishermen, and the neighboring community garden will all be partners in bringing sustainable resources, local pride, and environmental education into this communal place. The project will culminate with a community fish fry, featuring sustainably caught catch, to celebrate the Frederiksted community’s collaborative efforts to address stewardship, food security, civic engagement, and environmental education.
The overarching goal of this project is to bring life and excitement back into a currently under-utilized fish market and the surrounding underserved area by collaborating with the neighborhood on a community action project that educates the local residents and those who would be engaging with the space on the most sustainable fish choices for vending and purchasing.
Why A Project Focused on Sustainable Fishing Practices?
This community wants to see the space used for something more positive than it's current state, but it is critical that we prioritize an environmentally sound path to bringing back accessible resources into this community.
I have broken the project time period into 4 parts with a final culminating event.
- The first months of September and October focus on organizational outreach. There are a couple of organizations also working towards revitalizing the Frederiksted community, predominately our Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) with the community-based group "Clean Sweep Frederiksted". Through my role at St. Croix Environmental Association (SEA) I will be coordinating efforts with these groups so that our projects, although their funding is on a much larger governmental scale, are complementary and collaborative. This will include attending the weekly meetings about DPNR's Reef Responsible program that recommends the most sustainable fish to consume, connecting with the local restaurants involved in this project, also meeting with Clean Sweep Frederiksted and getting connected to the local leaders in the artistic side of the community's renaissance efforts.
- November to December will be spent on community outreach and surveying. During this time SEA will host a weekend "pop-up" event with another community-based organization the Good Food Coalition to bring education about food deserts and the importance of access to sustainable resources. This event will also be where we tap into this neighborhood with "Share what you want to SEA" community surveys to build excitement, get community input, and identify young environmental leaders who are interested in supporting the project.
- January and February will be the designing of the signs with input from the Reef Responsible group and local artists and the coordination of the volunteers at the instillation site and those assisting with creation.
- Then March and April will be the physical building and instillation of the interpretive signage.
- Finally, the Freedom City Fish Fry will take place in May to celebrate the efforts of the entire community!